Carl Stevens

Fast Bikes - - COLUMNIST -

We’re get­ting into Oc­to­ber now and it al­ready feels like 2018 is upon us! More and more boxes are ar­riv­ing for next year’s steed, but un­til then I’ve been keep­ing my­self busy in just about any way I can. And by keep­ing my­self busy, I ac­tu­ally mean that some­how I man­aged to blag my­self into get­ting a KTM RC390 to ride in the RC Cup; the one make se­ries along­side the MCE Bri­tish Su­per­bike Cham­pi­onship. Now, I’m not go­ing to go into too much de­tail as you’ll be able to read my story in full in a nice juicy fea­ture I’m work­ing on for a coming is­sue, but need­less to say I had a right blast and was buzzing to be out on track. In all truth, go­ing up against a load of nutty nip­pers was bloody hard work!

The rac­ing was in­cred­i­bly close and the fact that I’ve not had that much fun on a bike in years just says it all – and that was be­fore we’d even fin­ished prac­tice. Af­ter four sea­sons of rid­ing a big bike, it’s so dif­fi­cult to grasp how to get a de­cent lap time on a small ca­pac­ity ma­chine – es­pe­cially when you’re at a bit of a weight dis­ad­van­tage. I started off pretty darn slow, but af­ter some help from one Jeremy McWil­liams I man­aged to pull some­thing out the bag and came away with a cou­ple of top 10 fin­ishes which was a pretty cool way to fin­ish the week­end off.

It hasn’t just been all fun and games mind you. Apart from clown­ing around on RC390s and cre­at­ing a garage full of GSX-R1000R bling, I’ve been train­ing at ev­ery pos­si­ble mo­ment so I can hold on to the bloody thing. These bikes are an ab­so­lute an­i­mal to han­dle so I want to be as on point as I can be phys­i­cally. No mess­ing around now ei­ther; you know things have got se­ri­ous now that the only thing I’m drink­ing is gin – it has fewer calo­ries than a ba­nana af­ter all…

All of this is just mere prepa­ra­tion for that ma­hoosive step ahead, though. By this time next month the Suzuki should be pretty much ready to rock and roll for a first out­ing, where I’m hop­ing to get one sneaky club race in be­fore the end of the year.

As long as it’s not snow­ing by then. I don’t know what to ex­pect from it, or how well I’ll ad­just to it, but I’ll do my best and aim for the top. Peo­ple keep telling me how big a step it’s go­ing to be, but I’m in no rush to go shout­ing my mouth off about win­ning cham­pi­onships and the like. It’ll be one step at a time stuff but I’m like a kid at Christ­mas… which isn’t all that far away, come to think about it. How did that hap­pen?

Fi­nally, a bike that’s small enough for Carl. That’sacrack­ingsight.

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